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High school students invited to apply for 2022 Summer Law and Trial Institute

Engage with attorneys and judges, litigate a mock trial and observe a Supreme Court argument

High school students are invited to apply for the highly competitive Summer Law and Trial Institute, offered virtually with an in-person mock trial experience at Ohio University from July 7 - 15, 2022.

Preference is given to rising high school juniors and seniors from southeastern Ohio, though students from outside the region also can apply. 

All participants will be in Athens on July 15 for the culminating experience—a mock trial that their family members can watch with Common Pleas Court Judge Zachary Saunders presiding. He's one of about 20 Ohio University alumni judges and attorneys who will be assisting in the institute. In the days leading up to the mock trial, these alumni and current OHIO pre-law and mock trial students will work in virtual sessions with institute participants, getting them ready for roles as prosecutors, witnesses and defense attorneys. 

The Summer Law and Trial Institute (SLTI) aims to increase understanding of the law and its possibilities among Ohio high school students. Students accepted into the free program will explore law and the American legal system and learn about a variety of legal careers from the alumni, who will discuss their roles as attorneys, judges and advocates.

Ellen Gill-Franks, an Ohio University senior graduating this spring and headed to law school in the fall, participated in the very first institute six years ago while she was in high school.

"I knew that being selected to participate in the Summer Law and Trial Institute was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. I did not know that it would also lead me to my mentor, Larry Hayman, who would guide me through the college application process and then to student organizations, scholarships, leadership roles, mock trial team, and study abroad opportunities. SLTI showed me what kind of student leader and lawyer I could be, and Larry has helped me realize that potential year after year."

Lori Turner, another OHIO senior from the 2016 SLTI cohort, said it changed her life.

“I really wouldn’t be here,” she said, “because I had nothing. Nothing got me out of bed. And being able to come here and find that there’s something out there that’s for me, I have a purpose now. And I can get out of bed and I can go do these things, and I can even end up here,” says Turner, a political science major.


Summer Law and Trial Institute students
Summer Law and Trial Institute students at the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Free program for high-achieving, rising high school juniors and seniors

Summer Law and Trial Institute participants this summer will:

  • Watch a Supreme Court of Ohio oral argument and meet Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor.
  • Virtually visit the Athens County Court of Common Pleas.
  • Virtually visit with non-governmental organizations, such as Southeastern Ohio Legal Services, American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio.
  • Meet and interact with attorneys and judges.
  • Litigate a mock trial in a real courtroom.

The deadline to apply for this selective program is June 10. Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis, so applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as admission is competitive.

Note that the virtual sessions will run from July 7-14, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. On July 15, participants will be required to come to Athens, Ohio, for the live, in-person mock trial. On July 15, check in will be 8 to 9 a.m., and the banquet dinner will conclude by about 6 p.m.

The institute was founded in 2016 by Hayman, assistant director of the Center for Law, Justice and Culture in the College of Arts and Sciences and the university's pre-law advisor. Hayman joined the law center in 2014 after eight years of practicing law. He earned a B.A. in political science and graduated magna cum laude from the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio University in 2003. He received his Juris Doctor from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, graduating in the top 10 percent of his class, and is licensed to practice law in Ohio and in U.S. District Court.

Students in the institute will learn about:

  • Making the transition from high school to college
  • Exploring career opportunities in law
  • Exploring undergraduate, graduate, and professional areas of legal study
  • Law, the American legal system, and putting on a trial

The program is free of charge and fully scholarshipped for selected students. It is made possible through generous alumni support. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the donors.

The Summer Law and Trial Institute is developed, coordinated and implemented by the Center for Law, Justice and Culture.

April 20, 2022
Staff reports